Are You Taking Care of Your Small Dog’s Teeth?

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – While Labradors have topped the American Kennel Club’s list of popular dogs for more than two decades, small dogs are gaining ground. Out of the top ten breeds, four — Yorkshire terriers, Dachshunds, Poodles (the category includes standards and miniatures) and Shih Tzus — are small breeds. The dog that made the largest jump in popularity 2009? The Havanese, which weighs between seven and 13 pounds.
Small dogs make great companions for a reason. Many are smart, personable and ideally sized for apartment living. But small dogs do come with special needs, and owners should be aware of them. For example, due to the small size of their mouths, dogs under 20 pounds have a greater risk of dental problems.
Owners of small dogs should be extra diligent about their pets’ oral hygiene. Scheduling regular check-ups can help vets catch problems in tooth and jaw development. Those with puppies should pay attention when their dogs start losing their milk teeth. If adult teeth don’t emerge from the gums, there could be a problem requiring a vet visit.
Adult dog owners should examine their dogs’ gums for signs of infection, like discoloration or bleeding. Abnormalities may be signs of periodontal disease, which requires treatment by a veterinarian.
Prevention is just as important as detection. Brushing pets’ teeth daily is one of the best ways to maintain oral health, but many dogs won’t tolerate brushing. For dogs that are temperamental about pet owners or vets touching their teeth, a simple and effective solution can be found using a new type of probiotics, called Teddy’s Pride Oral Care (www.MyTeddysPride.com), that has been designed specifically for the oral care needs of dogs and cats. These probiotics can be used in addition to brushing or as a stand-alone oral care routine, if brushing is not an option. Owners simply sprinkle the odorless, tasteless product on their pets’ food, making it the easiest step toward protecting pets’ mouths.

Holiday Travel: Tips for Pet Owners

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Whether traveling by car or plane this holiday season, pet owners need to consider all their options when it comes to deciding whether or not to travel with their pets.

According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, Americans spend more than $38 billion a year on their pets – and the travel industry has taken notice. Hotels and kennels are rolling out the red carpet to four-legged clientele. Plush beds, gourmet biscuits, aromatherapy and massage therapy are becoming more common.

For pet owners considering a kennel, Dr. Jeff Werber, an Emmy award-winning animal health reporter and nationally respected veterinarian, suggests asking what veterinary services are available and whether the kennel requires pets to be current on their vaccinations. Also, make sure your pet is flea-free. Protection from a potential flea infestation can save your pet a lot of discomfort and you a lot of headaches.

“I recommend using a product monthly such as Advantage or K9 Advantix for dogs only, to control these pesky critters, especially before boarding your pet,” Werber says.

Winter doesn’t mean fleas go into hibernation. Temperate climates, or warm homes, allow fleas to continue producing eggs throughout winter. And don’t forget, there may be parasites at your vacation destination. These are just two reasons why year-round flea control is recommended by the Companion Animal Parasite Council.

For some, a trip is no fun without their four-legged companion. If traveling with your pet, don’t forget to pack vaccination records, food, bowl, leash, waste scoop, grooming supplies and medication, as well as a favorite toy to give your pet a sense of familiarity.

To familiarize yourself with pet travel requirements, Werber suggests asking the airline a few questions, such as:

* Can your small pet board with you?

* Do they have restrictions on transporting pets as cargo?

* Are there special health and immunization requirements?

Affix a label to your pet’s carrier with your permanent and final destination contact information. Do not feed your pet for four to six hours prior to travel. Put ice cubes in the carrier’s water tray – a full water bowl can spill and cause discomfort during the flight.

Visit www.petparents.com for more tips.